Book Review: I Found You by Lisa Jewell

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Title - I Found You
Author - Lisa Jewell
Publication Date - July 14th 2016
Publisher - Cornerstone Digital
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided by publisher via NetGalley)
Pages - 448

Blurb
'How long have you been sitting out here?'

'I got here yesterday.'

'Where did you come from?'

'I have no idea.'

East Yorkshire: Single mum Alice Lake finds a man on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, no idea what he is doing there. Against her better judgement she invites him in to her home.

Surrey: Twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Two women, twenty years of secrets and a man who can't remember lie at the heart of Lisa Jewell's brilliant new novel.


Review
Can you believe that I Found You is the very first novel by Lisa Jewell that I've read? I'd heard of Jewell's books, of course, and passed by them numerous times while partaking in a spot of book shopping, but I'd never actually picked one up and popped it into my basket. So, when I stumbled upon Jewell's latest novel on NetGalley, I thought to myself, 'Why not?' After all, I'd always intended to pick one up, I simply hadn't, and the many, many glowing reviews I'd come across on Twitter hadn't slipped by unnoticed. My interest was piqued and I couldn't wait to discover a brand new author for myself.

I Found You follows the lives of two separate women in the present day. Jewell introduces readers to Alice and Lily. The differences between the two are crystal clear. Alice lives in a lovingly chaotic home in Yorkshire with the beach just outside. Lily is in Surrey and newly-married, although new to the country and away from her family after leaving to set up a brand new life with her husband. Alice is a single mother who can often be found chasing her dogs across the sand on a windy evening, and Lily is looking forward to a life of bliss alongside the love of her life. Switching between the two, Jewell beautifully and courageously brings these women to life right off the page. There's a certain sense of warmth and gentleness in Jewell's style. Her descriptions of Alice's family and not-so-perfect lifestyle were endearing to me, and so superbly crafted. Jewell takes the reader back and forth as, slowly and deliciously, circumstances take a compelling and unforeseen turn, and before we know it, not only are we witness to Alice and Lily's lives, but also to the lives of family way before the present day. At first, I was surprised by this change in direction and wasn't too sure of what to make of it. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't fit the pieces together to figure out how these characters were all linked. It didn't take long for me to decide to sit back and enjoy the ride, rather than try to hurry ahead of myself. It seemed, pretty quickly, that Jewell had everything under control, and was going to deliver to me a story like no other.

Book folk, I won't beat about the bush here. I'll just go ahead and say it. I LOVED this book. ABSO-LUTELY-FRIGGING LOVED IT. As if being introduced to Alice and Lily wasn't enough to get my brain whirring, things take an even more intriguing turn when a stranger turns up on the beach outside Alice's home, visible from her window. He doesn't move. He isn't wearing a jacket. He hasn't eating. He's lost his memory, Alice discovers, and he hasn't got a clue of who he is and how he got there. Mysterious, right? I, for one, couldn't wait to figure out Frank's story (name provided by Alice and her family!). My senses were on high-alert, I was thinking all sorts of ridiculous things and Jewell ensured that the HOOK remained right to the very last pages of this novel. It was mesmerising, dear readers, watching and waiting to see if Frank's memories would return to him, or whether he'd remain in the way Alice had found him. Jewell peppered the conversations between them with hints and secrets that I found myself hanging onto eagerly, to see if they'd turn into anything more. I was greedy while reading, desperate for more and feeling wholly satisfied when Jewell delivered again and again. There was so much mystery wrapped within this novel, secrets and darkness and so many things that I just didn't see coming. It was magic. Pure magic. And it has definitely sold Lisa Jewell to me as a brand new author for me to look forward to, without a doubt.

If Jewell's aim with I Found You was to make me feel something deep within my chest, then mission accomplished. My emotions were spiralling out of the galaxy when I finished reading this book. My questions were all answered and I was completely satisfied in regards to the plot and the stories within it reaching their respective ends, and I cried too, because it was so damn powerful and heartbreaking and absolutely stunning in a million and one ways. It moved me irreversibly, and made sure that I closed this book feeling as if I'd lived an entirely different life within the pages.

Becca's Books is awarding I Found You by Lisa Jewell with my highest rating of five bookish cupcakes. This is definitely a fierce contender for my top book of 2016. It blew my mind and left me spinning with feeling. My only regret is that I left it so long before picking up one of Jewell's books. This is truly something special and will remain with me for a very long time, I'm sure of it. Jewell's I Found You has hit me harder than a novel has for a very long time indeed. It's safe to say that I am very, very impressed and will be waiting eagerly for news of Lisa's next.


About the author
Lisa Jewell was born and raised in north London, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. Her first novel, Ralph's Party, was the bestselling debut of 1999. She is also the author of Thirynothing, One-Hit Wonder, Vince & Joy, A Friend of the Family, 31 Dream Street, The Truth About Melody Browne and After the Party, all of which have been Sunday Times bestsellers. 

You can find Lisa Jewell on Facebook | Twitter | lisa-jewell.co.uk

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